Studying Big Hero 6‘s Hiro Hamada – Scope Management for Teams

Team Scope
Image Credit = Big Hero 6

“That was never a condition of our agreement!” Lando Calrissian

No person is an island; meaning as people we form communities, professional networks and friendships as a support structure for one another. This often means that our next project will involve a team which is made up of some combination of team members. Those teammates may have been assigned to us by our company organization, experts that you have hired on, or selected from our groups of friends because they want to help. When setting out on a journey with multiple individuals, Scope Management can create the clear sense of purpose, defined milestones to keep the team on track, and  the criteria for success for both the team members and the project itself.

Image Credit = Big Hero 6

Scope Management Knowledge Area

Project Scope Management includes all processes required to ensure a project includes all work required and only the work required to complete the project. What is interesting about this knowledge area is that it is involved in two different times in a project’s life: during the Planning phase and Monitoring & Controlling phase. By executing Scope Management early in the project, you can be directionally sound. Through Scope Management during the Monitoring & Controlling timeframe, a project is able to make needed adjustments without allowing work or effort to deviate from the overall objective(s).

In Big Hero 6 we have Hiro Hamada and his friends set out on a project to get justice for Tadashi Hamada who was killed in a fire presumed to have been started by the Man in the Kabuki Mask. Though this outcome seems clear, the poor Scope Management throughout the project causes the team to turn against itself and nearly fail.

Hiro did not clearly Define Scope (5.2)

“We’ve gotta catch that guy!” ~ Hiro

“Apprehending the man in the mask, will improve Hiro’s emotional state.” ~ Baymax

Green Suit
Image Credit = Big Hero 6

Hiro, as the little brother trying to get closure for Tadashi’s death, approaches the project as his own personal revenge story.  Baymax, as a personal healthcare companion, is approaching the project as a means to improve Hiro’s emotional state. While these two individuals have different motivation for why they are involved in the project, there is an initial project objective that seems to coincide.

However, with no clear deliverables or success criteria outlined, the duo are left vulnerable to scope creep and misunderstandings.

Team Forms
Image Credit = Big Hero 6

With the addition of new team members, Project Scope Management should have been revisited. Since the participants were new to the project, some understanding of the project objectives, deliverables, and success criteria should have been provided.

Team correctly proceeds to Verify Scope (5.4)

Red Eyes
Image Credit = Big Hero 6

The originally agreed upon scope was to apprehend; and Hiro’s autocratic decision to redirect the project was unacceptable to the team.

“What you did, we never signed up for.” ~ Wasabi

“We said we’d catch the guy. That’s it.” ~ Gogo

“Hiro, this isn’t part of the plan.” ~ Fred

During the in-fighting amongst the team, the villain was able to escape nearly unscathed.

Review to Control Scope (5.5)

“…This time, we’ll do it right.” ~ Gogo

When the team reorganized and committed to completing the project with a defined outcome; they were able to focus all of their individual efforts towards that objective.

“New plan. Take out the bots.” Hiro

Apprehension of the villain was the acceptance criteria, and to do that the team worked together by minimizing the villain’s effectiveness – by taking out the micro bots. With each of the project team members reducing the number of the villain’s available bots, the villain was unable to continue.

With the deliverable defined, and all team members working towards it in their various ways, they were ultimately able to achieve their project objective.

Attack Stance
Image Credit = Big Hero 6

“Our programming prevents us from harming a human being.” ~ Hiro

Scope Management – For All Projects

Scope Management allows us to get our objectives into focus, define what we will achieve in our deliverables, and what constitutes victory. Then take the opportunity to verify your scope to ensure your activities align with your original objective. And throughout your project, you need to fiercely defend your scope or else it may expand rapidly beyond the control of your team. Worse still, it could result in your team delivering the wrong outcomes.

If our heroes had been more organized when setting the project into motion, the confusion among the team would not have happened. They probably would have successfully achieved their objective on the spooky quarantined island.

Vigilance on your deliverables and methodology prevent scope from going out of control. This project is a demonstration of how having all team members aware of Scope Management can lead to the successful completion of your project.


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